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Friday 9 October 2015

The London Foodie Goes to Peru - Lima (Part 2) - Miraflores

During the second part of our visit to Lima, we stayed in Miraflores. To learn more about Lima’s other boroughs including Barranco and San Isidro, and hotel and restaurant recommendations in these areas, read Part 1 here.

Miraflores is close to Barranco in northern Lima, and is the destination of choice for international visitors to the capital as well as well-heeled locals.

This is hardly surprising given its extensive Pacific coastline, the excellent hotels and restaurants in the area, the buzz from its many shops, bars and cafes, and its safety in comparison to older and more central parts of the capital.

Lima has always been known locally as the Garden City, and no district rivals Miraflores when it comes to parks. The Miraflores government has spent years improving and adding to the district's green spaces, with a special emphasis on El Malecón, a six-mile stretch of parks situated along the cliffs high above the Pacific Ocean. So it was to Miraflores that we headed for the last two days of our stay in Peru.  

Where to Stay

JW Marriott Hotel Lima

The JW Marriott Group is one of my favourite international hotel collections, and one I always seek out when travelling. It’s a group that I know has a real focus on providing excellent service and strives to stay ahead of the game – I recently did some consultancy for the group helping them design a hotel room for the future, leading the ‘foodie financials’, along with four other influencers representing their own ‘tribes’ –fashion, IT, sports and luxury. The best attributes of each tribe were subject to a public vote to create ideas for the perfect Marriott hotel room. You can read more about that in this article on the Daily Mail here.

The Marriott Hotel Lima, Peru

The JW Marriott Hotel Lima is a modern 5 star hotel, spectacularly situated on a cliff-top overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It had all the comfort and luxury expected of this top international hotel brand, as well as impeccable service.

The hotel affords great views of the ocean and is very well located in front of the Larcomar, a busy waterfront shopping and restaurant complex built into the cliff in Miraflores. The extensive promenade (known as the Malecón) is a lovely spot to stroll along, watching the many locals going about their daily lives, skating, jogging and cycling.

View of our room of the Pacific coast from the Marriott Hotel Lima

Our room had an ocean-front view, was spacious and elegant if a tad corporate in feel. It was the perfect spot to go back to after a day of eating, shopping and visiting the capital.

What made it even better for us was that I am a member of the  Marriott’s Rewards Club Scheme and so had access to the Executive Lounge on the top floor of the hotel.

The Executive Lounge is available to those staying on certain room rates and members of the Executive Club Scheme. It offers food, coffee and drinks 24 hours a day all inclusive in the room rate at no extra charge, and a concierge service which is a great help for restaurant reservations and flight check-ins. The staff at the Executive Lounge (as well as in other parts of the hotel) were super-helpful to us during our stay, making numerous calls on our behalf to arrange meetings and reservations. We had breakfast and various snacks during the day as well as cheese, charcuterie and wine at sunset each day.

The hotel has a very well equipped gym and an open-air swimming pool which, though it looked quite tempting, sadly we did not have time to make use of during our short stay.

On our first morning we had breakfast at the hotel’s main restaurant. With various cooking stations serving an array of hot dishes including pancakes, waffles and local dishes cooked to order (the eggs Benedict with crumbled chorizo was delicious) as well as fresh tropical fruit and everything else you might expect, breakfast was a real feast.

The JW Marriott in Lima is a well-appointed hotel in a great location, with spacious rooms and stunning public areas. In addition, with great food and service, it is a good and convenient place to stay in Miraflores, either for pleasure or business. 

Where to Eat

Central Restaurant by Virgilio Martinez is just around the corner from the JW Marriott Hotel. We had an epic 17-course tasting menu there which will be featured in a separate blog post.

Fiesta Restaurant

Fiesta is one of the top restaurants in Lima, and in 2015 was placed at number 31 of the San Pelligrino Best 50 Restaurants in South America. Its Head Chef, Hector Solis, aims to present gourmet food from the Chiclayo region of Northern Peru.

We started with grilled ceviche over corn leaves (£15). The ceviche had a delectably charred flavour having been grilled on corn-husks over hot coals, and it was served with a well flavoured cream of aji amarillo, and topped with chopped coriander, aji limo (the red chilli used for ceviches), and chicha de jora (a Peruvian beer made of corn).

Next came grilled baby goat ribs, served with on a bed of tacu-tacu rice (£13), with white beans. Tacu-tacu is a national dish of rice usually mixed with black or brown beans, to accompany meats. The ribs were meltingly tender, and served with a delicious salsa of Seco Norteño made from northern Peruvian squash and coriander.

The piece de resistance was undoubtedly the main course, and the dish for which Fiesta is most famous: Arroz con Pato (£13). A classic Peruvian-Chiclayo dish, Fiesta’s version was beautifully presented in its own cooking pot and featured black duck from the El Conde hacienda in northern Peru, fed on a diet of fresh vegetables and yellow corn. The meat was tender, richly flavoured and succulent. The accompanying rice was fragrant with coriander and Peruvian squash, laced with duck stock, and served with a refreshing salad of radish, red onions and red chilli, and a cream of aji amarillo.

For dessert, we shared a well-made Suspiro de Lúcuma. This was a custard made from the delicious eponymous Amazonian fruit native to Peru, topped with soft meringue and lime zest.

Our meal at Fiesta was delicious, with hearty home-style Peruvian food cooked to Michelin standards. This is the kind of food and cooking I love. Fiesta was one of my favourite restaurants during this trip, and I would highly recommend it for a taste of authentic, regional Chiclayo cooking.


Saqra is an unusual restaurant for a number of reasons, and the literal translation of its Quechua name is 'little devil'. Set in a building that dates from 1971, it was opened in 2011 by its current owner Joaquin de la Piedra after thorough renovation. 

It is a quirky, colourful restaurant in the heart of Miraflores, with outdoor seating, making it a great place to hang out for a few drinks and some food. Unusually, everything in the restaurant is for sale – not just the food and drink, but also everything from the marble-topped tables to the artwork and lights, crockery and cutlery.

We kicked off with a refreshing Chiclano aperitif made from Pisco and ginger ale, while the owner explained that he aimed to serve Peruvian food as it had long been enjoyed- simple, made on the premises and served without frills.  

Our first dish was a beautifully presented bonito tataki (£6) – tataki referring to the Japanese method of searing the outside of the fish while keeping the inside raw.  The bonito had been covered with burnt sugar and flamed, and was served with leche de tigre (ceviche marinade) and huacatay oil.

Next we had a platter of black pudding squares (£6), coated in panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried. Served over a sweet potato crunch and covered with Saqra’s interpretation of chimichurri sauce, made with aji amarillo, red onion and lime, it offered a mouth-tingling contrast to the richness of the black pudding.

We also had a dish of pansotti (£7), similar to ravioli, these were filled with a ratatouille made from Andean roots, peppers, ulluco (a tuber vegetable from the Andes similar to potato), maca (a powdered root aka ‘Peruvian viagra’ or ‘superfood’), white onion, parsley, huacatay and muña herbs. Served in a creamy goats cheese sauce with dehydrated beetroot, this was delicious, and one of the best dishes of the evening.

The osso bucco de seco (£10) was tender and succulent, having been cooked sous vide for 24 hours. The meat came with a flavoursome Peruvian ‘seco’ (a Northern Peruvian sauce) of coriander, loche squash and chicha de jora, garnished with creamy mashed yucca, loche squash foam and salsa criolla.

The escabeche with chickpea tacu tacu (£8.50) followed. This was a fillet of bonito, marinated in vinegar, red onion and white chilli for 3 days, served over a creamy chickpea tacu tacu (a Peruvian dish normally made from rice and beans topped with roasted meat).

For dessert, we tried the pineapple picarones with fig syrup and coconut ice cream £6. Picarones are Peruvian doughnuts made from a dough of pumpkin and sweet potato. I fell in love with picarones during my stay in Peru, so was happy to see them on the menu at Saqra. Here, they were stuffed with pineapple, covered with fig and chancaca (molasses) syrup and served with a smooth coconut ice cream and an air-dried pineapple slice.

We thoroughly enjoyed our meal at Saqra. I loved the bold flavours, the beautiful presentation of the dishes, and the tongue-in-cheek, quirky feel of the restaurant. A great, fun dining spot in Miraflores. 

What to Do

Paragliding on the Malecón & Bike Tour

Besides strolling, jogging, cycling or people watching along the extensive beach-front avenue known as the Malecón, it is also the taking-off point for paragliders. A few minutes north of Parque del Amor (Love Park), you will see the taking-off point for paragliders.

The Malecón is the prime spot for paragliding in Lima — gliders jump off the cliffs and ride the winds whipping off the ocean below. For $50, you can take a 10-minute flight with a trained paragliding guide; buy tickets at the small kiosk at Block 2 of the Malecón. Rides are available from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, winds permitting.

If you want more than 10 minutes of fun, rent a bike and cruise the Malecón and other sites in Lima. A good place for rentals is Bike Tours of Lima at Bolivar 150 in Miraflores. The daily rate, which includes lock and helmet, is $15.

Hanging out and people watching at the Larcomar 

Along the Malecón in the Miraflores district is Larcomar, a multilevel entertainment, food and shopping complex. The first thing you'll notice about Larcomar is that you cannot see it. The entire complex is built into the cliffside, underneath Miraflores — the entrance is on Block 6 of Malecón de la Reserva, across the street from the JW Marriott hotel; take the stairs down just before you get to the cliff's edge.

Larcomar has breathtaking ocean views, which you can enjoy from numerous restaurants offering Peruvian food, as well as several American franchises serving everything from doughnuts to ribs. Try Peruvian chargrilled chicken — or pollo a la brasa (literally, chicken over coals) — at Pardo's Chicken or have a cone of homemade ice cream from Gelateria Laritza D', while watching the sun set on the Pacific. There's also a cinema, bowling alley and pool hall here, and plenty of shops. Larcomar is a great place to while away your last few hours in Lima before catching a cab to the airport.

Visit historical ruins

You don't have to trek into the Andes to see vestiges of Peru's ancient civilizations. Lima has a large number of historical ruins, known locally as huacas, which can be spotted in many neighborhoods.

The Pucllana Temple, or Huaca Pucllana, is an adobe ceremonial center that was built around 500 A.D. Much of the site has been restored and excavations continue to uncover artifacts and the occasional mummy.

The ruins are accessible Wednesday to Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; the last tour starts 30 minutes before closing. Admission is $2.50 for adults, and half off for children and students.

Travel Essentials

JW Marriott Hotel Lima
Malecon De La Reserva 615
Lima 18 

Av. Reducto 1278
Lima 18
T: +
Av. La Paz 646
Lima. LIMA 18
T: +51.1.650.8884 

Block 6 of Malecón de la Reserva

Parque del Amor
El Malecón, Miraflores, Lima, Peru

Bike Tours of Lima
Bolivar 150, Miraflores, Lima, Peru; 51-(0)1-445-3172 or 51-(0)1-99916-64223 (mobile) biketoursoflima.com

Pucllana Temple
Block 8 of General Borgoño, Miraflores, Lima, Peru; 
51-(0)1-445-8695 or 51-(0)1-440-8276

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